Daily News Roundup

September 16, 2020



The Federal Government is pushing states and territories to boost their combined hotel quarantine capacity by 50 per cent, to allow more Australians stuck overseas to return home.

Transport Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has written to state and territory leaders requesting that the cap on international arrivals, which currently sits at about 4,000 people per week, be raised to 6,000 per week.

He wants to see NSW, Queensland and Western Australia each take an additional 500 incoming passengers per week, while South Australia has been asked to increase its capacity by 360 quarantine beds per week.

Mr McCormack said he had also written to the leaders of Tasmania, the ACT and the NT, to gauge their ability to take on more international arrivals.

“Those letters are telling them that’s what they in fact need to do, and I’ve had discussions with them,” he said.

“They know, they understand, this needs to happen.

“There’s plenty of empty hotel rooms in these capital cities, and I want them filled with returning Australians.”

Melbourne’s 14-day daily coronavirus case average has dropped below 50, as the state records 42 new infections overnight.

Eight more people have died, taking Victoria’s coronavirus death toll to 737.

Premier Daniel Andrews said there were now 991 active coronavirus infections in the state.

It’s the first time that number has been below 1,000 in weeks.

“That is significant,” he said.

“Whether it is a very targeted local personal way, your family, your community, your friends or whether it be state-wide terms, this strategy is working.”

Regional Victoria will move to the third step of its recovery roadmap from midnight, after yesterday hitting the trigger points of a 14-day case average below five and no “mystery” cases for two weeks.

People will be allowed to leave their homes for any reason and small public gatherings will be permitted.

However, masks will remain mandatory, and there will still be tight restrictions on visitors to people’s homes.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian has declared NSW is COVID-19 hotspot free and the state is “holding the line well” after 10 new cases were recorded in the last 24 hours.

Six cases were travellers in hotel quarantine and four were locally acquired and linked to a known case or cluster.

Testing rates more than doubled yesterday, with 19,566 tests undertaken compared to 8,835 the day before.

There have been no new cases of COVID-19 in Queensland. 

Deputy Queensland Premier Steven Miles said clusters which emerged in the south-east of the state recently were being controlled. 

“We’ve had four cases over the last five day, all of those in quarantine and just five cases over the last seven days, which is very promising,” he said.  

“The three days prior to that we had 12 cases mostly related to those clusters.

“That is designed to give you just a sense of how we are getting on top of those clusters, particularly in the south side of Brisbane and the Ipswich area.”


The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have signed historic agreements to normalise ties with Israel, becoming the first Arab states in a quarter century to break a longstanding taboo, in a strategic realignment of Middle East countries against Iran.

US President Donald Trump hosted the White House ceremony, casting himself as an international peacemaker at the height of his re-election campaign.

“We’re here this afternoon to change the course of history,” Mr Trump said from a balcony overlooking the South Lawn.

“After decades of division and conflict, we mark the dawn of a new Middle East.”

In front of a crowd of several hundred people, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed accords with Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani.

The bilateral agreements formalise the normalisation of Israel’s already thawing relations with the UAE and Bahrain in line with their common opposition to Iran.


A young Gold Coast woman who waged a high-profile battle against melanoma has died at the age of 23.

Ashleigh Simrajh launched legal action against two doctors who failed to diagnose her cancer.

Her husband, Jason Hale, whom she married just 11 days ago, paid tribute to his wife on social media.

“You were so brave and strong and I know that you tried your absolute best fighting this battle,” he wrote.

“Words cannot describe the pain I’m feeling right now.

“I’m absolutely devastated and my heart is completely shattered.”

She first noticed a lump on her thigh three years ago, but by the time it was diagnosed, it was beyond treatment.

The cancer had spread to her lungs and lymph nodes.

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